Honors for Senior Keck Astronomer Richard Ellis
Richard Ellis, whose research focuses on galaxy evolution and observational cosmology, recently travelled not to the Hawaiian Isles but to the British Isles to be invested as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE). In a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on July 3, Ellis was honored for “for services to international science.” The CBE is Great Britain’s highest civilian honor other than knighthood, and dates back to a British order of chivalry established by King George V in 1917. It is rarely given to nonresident British citizens.
Ellis, who is Caltech’s Steele Family Professor of Astronomy, is a senior observer at Keck and was recently a presenter for the Observatory’s distinguished Evenings with Astronomers lecture series in January, 2008.
In 2006, his research applying gravitational lensing to detect the most distant galaxies in the universe was featured as the cover story in Time magazine’s September issue.
According to Observatory Director Taft Armandroff, Richard Ellis pushes the Keck telescopes and instruments to their absolute limits to discover and understand the faintest and most distant galaxies in the universe. The light that he measures from these galaxies has been travelling to us for over 90% of the age of the universe. He is a passionate initiator and contributor to continually improving Keck’s capabilities. In addition, he has served as a member of both the Keck Observatory’s Science Steering Committee and our governing Board of Directors. His scientific, technical, and organizational contributions to Keck have played a significant role in the Observatory’s renown. On behalf of the Observatory, congratulations Richard on this well deserved recognition.
Ellis received his undergraduate degree from University College London and his Ph.D. from Oxford University. Before becoming a professor at Caltech in 1999, he was a distinguished member of the astronomical community in the United Kingdom. He served as the prestigious Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge.
He and his wife, Barbara, live in Pasadena, California.